If you crave a cold beer while visiting Salzburg, it would be a big mistake not to quench your desire in tasty brews and atmospheric surroundings. We found three great beer gardens when we visited the beautiful baroque town.
Written by Mette / Photo by Martin
Translated from Danish
It would probably be more appropriate if Martin wrote this blog post, as I have a much greater love for grapes than hops. But I have to confess that I was seduced by the atmosphere that comes with Salzburg’s beer gardens and authentic beer culture. Surrounded by cheerful people, charming surroundings, and locals dressed in lederhosen, peasant jackets, and felt hats with feathers – the frothy beers served in large, heavy clay mugs tasted better than ever before.
Austria’s best beer city
Salzburg is known for being Austria’s best beer city. It is enriched with 10 breweries as well as countless charming cafes, kitschy pubs, and cozy beer gardens. When Mozart lived here, the city had no less than 40.000 bars for only 16.000 inhabitants. That fact gives a taste of the locals’ culture and love for the golden brew.
I don’t know how many restaurants and cafés there are today for the city’s almost 150.000 inhabitants. But we never had to go very far to find a cozy place to rest our legs and quench our thirst. In Salzburg, beer gardens are the residents’ second home. They have a strong tradition of meeting with family and friends over a mug of beer. They toast to a successful workday, to anniversaries, and to each other’s company. That is why the city also flourishes with beer gardens that buzz with local atmosphere.
Here you will find our three favorite beer gardens, all located in the old town, Salzburg Altstadt.
#1 – Augustin Bräu
In the old Mülln Monastery you will not only find Austria’s oldest, but also one of the city’s most popular beer gardens. Augustiner Bräu was established by monks in 1621, and since then beer has been brewed using the same old methods. Here, beer is brewed using only malt, water, hops, and yeast. Completely without preservatives.
The fresh beer is served directly from large wooden barrels, and it’s a special experience when you grab a large clay mug from the shelf yourself, run it under cold water and slam it over the counter, where an employee taps the barrel and fills your mug foaming to the brim.
Augustiner Bräu has room for 1.400 guests in the cozy beer garden. Under a ceiling of green leaves, the good atmosphere thrives, and this is often where families celebrate the arrival of the city’s newest residents. The monastery is right next to the hospital.
You can enjoy your own delicacies in the garden or pick up traditional Austrian dishes in some of the small food stalls inside the monastery. And if you want to know more about the brewery, you can take a guided tour in the historical footsteps of beer.
#2 – Stigelkeller
Stigelkeller is a perfect pit-stop when you need a break from the tourist attractions and must undoubtedly be one of the city’s most beautiful beer gardens. Located on the hillside, at the foot of the old fortress, Stigelkeller has had a wonderful view over the city’s baroque domes and Gothic spires since 1820.
It is a pleasure for all the senses to pick up a cold beer from the restaurant and make the trip up the stairs to one of the three outdoor floors. Up here, you will experience that the beer tastes so good that music suddenly fills the air around you. It’s not because you’re going crazy or wildly drunk, though. Salzburg is a vibrant music scene and often classical tunes pour from the city’s squares and streets, which just adds an extra dimension to the beautiful views and tasty beers.
The brewery itself is half an hour’s drive outside of Salzburg and is worth a visit if you are a real beer geek. Here is also a popular museum, Stigel Brauwelt, where you can find out everything about the production of one of the world’s most loved drinks.
#3 – Stadtalm
Stadtalm may not be a beer garden in the traditional sense, as the place also functions as a charming hostel. But with a location on the edge of Mönchsbjerget, Stadtalm’s associated restaurant has a trump card. The outdoor terrace has a dazzling panorama over the city and makes you want to linger just to drink one more beer. One more, and one more …
The old building is situated in idyllic and green surroundings but has a more serious history. The house is located above the old city wall and functioned in the dawn of time as a lookout post and a place of residence for the soldiers. Today, however, the place has an almost romantic atmosphere, much like a tiny French chateau.
The Stadtalm is a short walk from the modern art museum and follows a pleasant forest path that takes you all the way to the fortress if you continue along the edge of the mountain. From here you will find several beautiful views over the city.
The local’s tips when visiting a beer garden
Bring your own food basket
In the beer gardens of Salzburg, the local brew flows endlessly from the brass taps, and at the tables, the delicacies brought from home are unwrapped: soda-glazed Brezel pretzels, grilled mackerel, spicy sausages, and full-fat cheese. In many of the beer gardens, you do not need to buy the food sold in the restaurant or the small food stalls. You are welcome to bring your own food basket.
On our historic food tour, our local guide showed us how to fill a food basket like a true Salzburger. Start at the market on Universitätsplatz in the old town. Here you can buy sun-ripened fruit and fresh vegetables in bite-sized pieces. Continue to the stalls selling delicious sausages and Austrian mountain cheese. Next, walk down the street Wiener-Philharmonier Gasse to the shop “Genuss Fass”. Here you will find a multitude of oils and vinegars that add extra flavour to the food basket.
You can buy the city’s best bread in Austria’s oldest bakery at St. Peter’s Monastery. Since the 14th century, the popular Stiftsbäckerei has produced their own energy for the old stone ovens using the water mill you can see outside the bakery. Here, according to tradition, you can buy two types of bread. A white bread and a spicy bread. If you want a classic pretzel with you, you can get the city’s best in the small stall on the nearby square Kapitelplatz. Check out the sign that says “The city’s best pretzel”. It’s true.
If you have a sweet tooth, you should swing by “R.F. Azwanger” on the main pedestrian street Getreidegasse 15. The shop has been here since 1656 and is a cornucopia of mouth-watering treats. Filled chocolates, jams, and many other delicacies. As an alternative to the Mozart ball, you should try the truffles with the erotic name “Nipples of Venus”. They taste sinfully well!
Now you are ready to go to the beer garden. Cheers, beautiful Salzburg!
Thirsty for more?
In addition to the many beer gardens, Salzburg also offers good and atmospheric bars. We were recommended the following by the locals, which we can also highly recommend:
• Brewery specializing in weissbier: Die Weisse
• Popular meeting place at Linzer Gasse: Zum Fidelen Affen
• Traditional wine cellar: Andreas Hofer